Since the most recent attacks in Gaza began, much of the Western news media has been blocked from the region by the Israeli military. Into this news vacuum flowed an organization frequently shunned by the West: Al Jazeera. As the International Herald Tribune points out: “Al Jazeera has had a distinct advantage. It was already there.”
This week, Al Jazeera began an aggressive Internet campaign to get its reporting to viewers worldwide by offering all of its video material of the conflict in Gaza to the public under a Creative Commons license, “which effectively means it can be used by anyone—rival broadcaster, documentary maker, individual blogger—as long as Al Jazeera is credited,” reports the International Herald Tribune.
Each video is hosted on blip.tv, allowing for easy downloads, and includes a detailed information page describing the content. Raw footage, interviews with residents, and press conference material is included.
More from the International Herald Tribune on Al Jazeera’s web campaign:
It currently streams its broadcasts in a variety of formats and has a dedicated YouTube channel with more than 6,800 videos. The report on the couple shopping for furniture in Gaza City, for example, was viewed nearly 6,000 times on YouTube, generating more than 100 comments in the six months it had been available.
By contrast, a recent segment in which Mohyeldin played exclusive videotape of what appeared to be a Hamas sniper’s killing of an Israeli tank commander, which included repeated cautions that what was being shown could not be independently confirmed, has been viewed nearly 150,000 times in less than three days, with more than 700 comments.
Al Jazeera said that since the war started, the number of people watching its broadcasts via the Livestation service has increased by over 500 percent, and the number of videos viewed on the YouTube channel has increased by more than 150 percent.
Al Jazeera has also created a Twitter feed on the “war on Gaza,” which provides short cellphone messages that refer the public to new material that can be viewed online. Over the weekend, there were more than 4,600 followers, not including the many more who view those “tweets” online. The Twitter feeds are also streamed onto the Al Jazeera English Web site.
>> Visit the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository.